Disclaimer: High School Musical is property of Disney and I make no money off of this; I'm simply destroying the sandcastles.

Title: New Years Magic

Author: Jade-Max

Summary: Troy's flight leaves at noon instead of early morning on New Years day, giving him the chance to find Gabriella one last time...

Notes: First ever HSM fic for me. Yay me.

New Years Magic

Troy Bolton woke New Year's morning with only one thought on his mind.

Gabriella.

The mysterious, beautiful, talented singer he'd been coerced into singing with the previous night during the karaoke party thrown for the young adults staying at the lodge. Coerced, perhaps, but magic had ensued. He'd never felt more alive than in those three minutes, charged by the energy that arced between he and the stunning brunette he'd never before met.

Not just charged… no; that wasn't quite it. Something else had happened, something that defied logic and a part of him wanted to recapture it.

Throwing back his covers, he cast a quick glance at the door to the room his parent's shared and confirmed it was closed. The clock by the sofa bed read just after six in the morning, which was strange since he'd had trouble getting to sleep last night once he'd made his way back to their hotel suite. His parents hadn't been back yet and he'd feigned sleep when they'd returned, not ready to share the special experience with anyone.

Instead he'd spent the time lying awake - until around three - reliving the experience. The fear in those first initial moments, the terror that he was about to make the biggest mistake of his life and embarrass himself horribly. The DJ hadn't helped either with his smart ass remarks and he'd been tempted to abandon the stage at the end of that first stanza - until Gabriella had picked up the second half of the duet.

He'd never expected her to sing like an angel, heck he hadn't expected her to sing at all from the look on her face.

To say he'd been shocked would be an understatement - but it had been a pleasant shock. It had changed his mind to leave her by herself on stage and instead convinced him to return to the microphone. He hadn't regretted it and he'd meant what he'd said despite her disappearance.

Singing with her had trumped every other activity he's done on this vacation including basketball with his dad and snowboarding. His friends back home would never believe him even if he told them about it. He hadn't known until that moment when he'd opened his mouth to sing that he'd been able to and he wasn't too sure what to do about it now that he knew.

If anything.

Singing with anyone except Gabriella just seemed... wrong somehow. And he didn't know if he'd ever see her again.

Changing quickly, he threw on the clean pair of jeans he'd pulled out for traveling that afternoon before pulling a black t-shirt over his head and grabbed his jacket. Another glance at the door to the room his parents shared yielded no movement and he stopped only to pen a quick note saying he'd gone down to the lobby for breakfast and would be back soon.

Hopefully he'd be able to find Gabriella before he got called away to pack and get ready for their one o'clock flight. Sure, they needed to be at the airport early, but he was hopeful Gabriella hadn't been able to sleep any better than he had. Snagging the keycard for the room off the table, he let himself out and ran eagerly towards the elevator at the end of the hallway.

It was early enough he didn't dare try the phone number she'd given him, but if he was lucky he wouldn't need to.

Veering away from the elevator, he opted for the stairs instead to try and bleed off some of the excessive energy that was careening through his system. The thought of seeing her again, of talking with her was as exhilarating as running his team through any free period practice or playing in a semi-final. More-so in some ways.

Gabriella was special.

Slowing as he careened down the stairs towards the lobby, Troy belatedly checked his pockets for cash to pay for the breakfast he'd claimed he was going to be eating in his note. His fingers came up empty, but he shrugged, not worried. He'd just charge it back to the room like he had all week.

Breakfast, however, was the furthest thing from his mind as he entered the lobby. The New Years décor was still up, reminding him of the previous night and - unnecessarily - of the object of his search. The night watch at the desk smiled a good morning, as did the security guard at the main door, and he nodded a polite hello in return but didn't stop. They wouldn't help him if he didn't know Gabriella's last name.

Deciding the most logical place to start was the freestyle club where they'd met, he made his way down. It was practically deserted, the staff responsible for clearing away the remnants of the previous evening's party not yet recovered and on duty. The streamers, confetti and various other decorations that had fallen or been thrown littered the floor as he made his way towards the stage.

Stage.

Shaking his head, a part of him was still in shock about the whole thing. Sure, it had been fun once they'd gotten going, but that initial fear had been anything but. Yet, Troy found he couldn't regret it - the song had said it all. It had been the start of something new - only now he had to find her again.

If he could.

Bypassing the stage, he headed for the terrace where they'd rung in the New Year - and not in the way his dreams had eventually told him he should have. Not in the way that was traditional - or rather, the way his parents had rung it in. He had no doubt on the stroke of midnight his father had kissed his mother.

Of course, he hadn't been brave enough to even try and kiss Gabriella's cheek and the moment had been more than a little awkward when she'd looked at him as if she half expected him to kiss her. Or at least try. Maybe Troy Bolton, Wildcats Superstar might have if his buddies had been around. Maybe. Except as much as he'd been tempted, he couldn't. The Troy Bolton she'd met on stage couldn't and wouldn't jeopardize the relationship they'd begun by such a rash action.

He hadn't found the courage and was both regretting - and thankful - for it.

And now he was fighting the growing feeling of certainty that he'd never see her again.

Finding no one in the freestyle club, he headed back to the main lounge in the lobby of the lodge. No one else, save staff, were around and by the time he returned over an hour had passed. Checking the clock above the main registration desk in the lobby, Troy found it was almost seven thirty.

In half an hour he'd have to head back upstairs and pack; his parents wanted to be at the airport by ten so they could get through the security without being rush - and it would take over an hour just to get to their check in gate from the lodge.

Half an hour to find a young woman who sang like an angel; he might as well have been searching for a needle in a haystack.

"Troy!"

He stiffened, unable to help the surge of disappointment as he turned towards the elevator bank. "Yeah dad?"

"The court is free, ready for a quick practice before we head out?"

Thirty minutes was too much to ask for and Troy knew he couldn't say no without risking questions. Resignedly, he forced a smile and nodded, heading towards his father at a quick jog. Silently, as he stood next to his father on their way to their room to change, he told himself he wouldn't even tell Chad about Gabriella.

She would simply remain his secret - and best - memory of vacation.

fin